“After stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism your entire presidency, you have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence? ‘When the looting starts the shooting starts’???” Taylor Swift tweeted to her 86 million followers Friday morning, tagging Trump’s Twitter handle. “We will vote you out in November.”
Immediately, the shocked social media reactions started pouring in, as it was retweeted more than 100,000 times in an hour. In the past, Swift — the fifth most-followed person on Twitter — was harshly criticized for staying silent about anything political or topical, particularly during the 2016 election. (“Who did Taylor Swift vote for?” was a top Google search at the time.)
Then, right before the 2018 midterm elections, she made a stunning turnaround with a long statement in which she revealed she was voting Democrat, and slammed Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), writing, “Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me.” In January, Swift doubled down on her views (specifically against Trump) in the documentary “Miss Americana,” which explored her past several years in and out of the spotlight, and why she decided to break her silence.
In one emotional scene, Swift explained that she didn’t speak up in 2016 because it was during the worst backlash of her career (after the Kanye West “Famous” incident) and she felt that publicly supporting any politician could backfire. But now, after multiple years of the Trump presidency, she was ready. When her team pointed out that she could lose half her fan base, or headlines might read “Taylor Swift comes out against Trump,” the singer shot back that it didn’t matter.
“I don’t care if they write that!” she exclaimed. “I’m sad that I didn’t two years ago, but I can’t change that. I’m saying right now that this is something that I know is right … I need to be on the right side of history.” She also added, “If I get bad press for saying, ‘Don’t put a homophobic racist in office,’ then I get bad press for that. I really don’t care.”
Swift has also become more outspoken about issues she avoided in the past, including at times positioning herself as a victim in disputes with black artists. When asked about this in an interview with the Guardian last year, Swift said she had started to understand “a lot about how my privilege allowed me to not have to learn about white privilege. I didn’t know about it as a kid, and that is privilege itself, you know?”
“And that’s something that I’m still trying to educate myself on every day,' Swift continued. “How can I see where people are coming from, and understand the pain that comes with the history of our world?”